tv [untitled] May 3, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT
maybe most effective way to further your political, religious or whatever other idea or agenda it is we are now where we need to be yet. this is where bin laden has been more successful than he dreamed. when i think about the terrorism threat i don't think about the al qaeda core. i lose patience with people who spend all their time debating about what is the al qaeda core today. we in the united states are in need of instant gratification. i have four seasons believe me, they are in need of instant gratification. our adversaries work on a much longer time frame. right now it's one thing, tomorrow next week, next month it's potentially something very different. i'm a little bit tired with those who are only interested in assessing where is the al qaeda core.
a group that had been floundering because it was working on a budget of a fuel thousand dollars and now they've got tens of millions of dollars. my biggest fear is the trend in homegrown violence extremism. the reason that keeps me up at night is because my time in the intelligence community and in law enforcement lead me to believe that we are best capability at thwarting the next attack when people who are plotting the next attack may set off one of the trip wires in place. travel or communication or moving or receiving money. but if we're trying to deal with people who have no job or dumped by their girlfriend and are looking for meaning and they
find it in radical extremism by looking at some online website and they're sitting in their mother's basement and they've never crossed law enforcement. they don't have a jaywalking ticket, we have no way to know about these people perhaps until an hour too late. that's what keeps me up at night. we have a lot of panelists here all of whom know more than i do. i will end by saying this. with all of the things that we're discussing today recent events indicate and remind us that we don't only face a threat from radical sunni extremism. there's extremism from iran and hezbollah. you can look no long farther than georgia and iran, the country not the state. to see something we're dealing with over the next year or longer as well. i want to thank the 30 potomac institute for having me out. i thank you all here for having
me here this afternoon. >> i'm going to stay right here. >> that's okay. >> a footnote. you mentioned we don't only have to worry about al qaeda. this month of april, march they attack we have to keep in mind as you indicated. also it's 32 years after the failed american rescue mission in iran. so the past 30 years i think we had to deal with restoring american credibility and confidence. and this particular event, the mission to kin bin laden is a significant department.
general. >> thank you. daughter's offer the same instant gratification for sons do for those that share my dilemma. as a marine i had to look it up just to make sure, where are you going? where does al qaeda want to go? where can al qaeda go? and where do we want al qaeda to go? fist, let's address what the death of bin laden meant. i'm not sure. i am sure the pressure of the military, the economic put on al qaeda has caused al qaeda to adopt. to morph or to mutate. most view bin laden's death as a good thing. we must ask if his death now causes us to deal with a new strain of al qaeda and what does that strain look like? when you have a game plan set and the other team changes you need to adjust. war and life is about edap tags and especially in war he who
adapts quickest will have an advantage. if al qaeda under bin laden looked the same after his death, there is no adaptation required. attempting to extrapolate what al qaeda will look like, what al qaeda will do, what al qaeda will become is uncertain. as owy beara stated, prediction is hard especially about the future. second, where does al qaeda want to go and can they go? assuming they have not shifted from their original views and methods we are dealing with people on the fringe. we believe in our cause and they believe in their theirs. this gets to truth and truth can be relative. almost digressing to myth and myth is powerful. degrees of the fringe vary from country to country and we have some fringe people within our country and they exist throughout the world. when truth couldn't be agreed upon, especially between
nations, violence invariably results. third, where do we want al qaeda to go. of course, we want them eliminated because of the damage they are doing. but is there anyway we could shape the future of al qaeda. unfortunately the nature of the world right now does not offer many alternatives. with global economic woes, expanding global growth. poverty that results in ignorance and want, reliance on oil and an emerging culture na believe you can reason with anyone and even. two examples come to mind in shaping actions. in the book in the ruins of the empire that deals with the japanese surrender in the battle for post war asia, members met with ho chi minh and received assurances th assurances that vee yet men were ready to work with the
americans. they were armed, trained select forces for op races against the japanese. in and bar province in 2004, sheiks some no good coming from this. the marines who made the outreach were civil affair group marines. reservists. names no one here would ever know. they were exceptionally creative. they along with their sheik counterparts believed that people wanted a lifestyle just a bit better for themselves and a better future for their children and fundamentally that poor men want to get rich and rich men want to get richer. and war in their backyard does not bring about that end state. it was not until 2006 that the u.s. was able to embrace this
concept. this is termed the abackening. but ask yourself who was awakened? us or them. in closing, let's discuss some fundamentals in dealing with al qaeda. be blunt, be decisive, be brutal, separate religion from their cause and take advantage of opportunities. in being blunt, leave no doubt what you say and what you will do and then do it. when you do it, be decisive and be brutal is the only way. some today have lost sight that war is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it, the crueller it is the sooner it will be over. general sherman stated this at the close of the u.s. civil war in 1865 and it remains true today. when the dogs of war are released, don't be surprised that the result in carnage. in some ways we are polly annish in our country. our fight is not with the muslim faith, but we have muddied this
water. when a person is bad, they are bad regardless of their skin color or their religious affiliation. be decisive and brutal at that point. opportunities will exist. but they must be realized and exploited and this is exceptionally difficult. imagine the difference of ho chi minh has been given an alternative path or if the awakening had occurred in 2004 instead of 2006 in and bar. i do not want to trivial the complexity of these matters. but we will have opportunity. thank you very much. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> professor hunter is a professor at georgetown university. as well as a distinguished scholar at the center for strategic international studies. >> that's only for c-span.
all right. thank you. sorry about that. it shows that i'm out of practice. first of all, i'd like to thank my old but young friend. in other words, we have known each other for a long time and actually we wrote stuff together, too at some point to the '80s, which i guess dates both of us. secondly, i have to say that i feel a little bit like fish out of water because it's been quite a while that i haven't really focused on terrorism and called as such. i used to do it a lot many the '80s. and of course surrounded by people that both profession ally and of course academically this is their specialty. i feel a little bit -- shall we say that apprehensive. but i will try to see what i can contribute to the debate that hopefully will be of some use.
first of all, i'd like to say that i personally am extremely happy that bin laden has been dispatched to some warm place. a particularly hot place. i think that is quite good and definitely we can say that al qaeda today i'm just going by reading the talk of when the successor was choseen. you can see there was concern that they were feeling including he was saying that now of course we have trouble getting money and you know people have to come and our friends should help us more in pakistan and other
places. obviously this has been a trauma for them. and every organization even like al qaeda when you suffer such a blow it takes a while. a long while. what i'm going to try to focus on was basically tactical and strategic and looking at the forces that give us people like bin laden and so on and of course in light of the arab spring. both of which to talk about context and to see that when one is trying to develop a broader sort of counterterrorism strategy what are some of the issues that one has to do? there are some things that the
united states does not have control over it. it has the.com of movement over al qaeda. for example, united states is not instigate the soviet invasion of afghanistan. once the soviets invaded afghanistan we have to go and do our job. we have to understand the soviet, afghan war was the crucible in which this whole jihadist thing really emerged and blossoms. i'm not suggesting that if all those things were written in the 1950s. this had not been completely operationalized. this whole soviet afghan war really became the crucible of jihad. the word jihad became legitimized. this is something that we have to understand. there is a direct link between
conflict and acts of terrorism. also the orthing that happened with the -- the -- soviet afghan war was pakistan underwent a tremendous change. here are the actions of some of our allies. i don't generally mince words. maybe if i had, i would have been in the better shape now. but the fact of the matter is there wasn't fum change that occurred in pakistan's islamic culture. they always existed in the subcontinent. but they got a new lease of life. these did not exist in pakistan before. i have been brought to pakistan and afghanistan prior to the soviet, afghan invasion. i knew what i was talking about. it's almost unrecognizable. i think this is another reason that we have to keep in mind. even else that you see that
jihadist idea migrated whether it was in bosnia or whether it was in chechnya. it just migrated from afghanistan. and it migrated with pakistan. we have to really keep in mind that who were the people that helped develop whether it was financially or idea logically. this is another dilemma we have that we have to come to terms. if we don't come to terms with it, i don't know how we're going to -- >> why is it that the whole question of terrorism is difficult to resolve. one of the things that is happening and i hope it will stay that way although europe is different if you judge by the
horrendous killing in toulouse which was heart wrenching. the person in that claimed they had connection with this new group in kazakhstan who they say is another one of those what i call it franchise. i think it has become the kentucky fried chicken of terrorism. whether they are connected and not to give their local -- this is another thing. with if they had local roots that al qaeda is trying to exploit. definitely in central asia. definitely kazakhstan simply didn't have it. islam's militant or terrorist
problem as much as they do right now. these are some of the things that are going to happen. but in terms of future doing what we have to do, we have two problems. and one of it is the ambiguity of the local states about the uses and abuses of terrorist groups. you know, terrorism also has to be bad against whomever this is perm traited. the minute that people have a selective approach to the use of terror then it becomes difficult. in other words, if you some groups that against the country or something that a local power or others don't like, then they call them, you know, liberation movements or whatever and i can go on and on. i can name names if need be, but i prefer not to. so the ambiguous role of state
is with the terrorist groups. of course, the most significant factor in years past, i mean the idea that bin laden was roaming around in pakistan and the pakistanis didn't know about that to me, i'm sorry it's just strains credibility to a point of impossiblity. so this is one thing that we have, if pakistan cannot even protect its own shiia population and you know, and we have to separate the shiias from iran. that is a fact. we have 160 million shiia and of that maybe only 65 million are in iran. so the other 100 million that the way they treat it is totally and completely different than we have to separate. now the idea that they don't know that is slaughter the shiias prior to now, it seems to me that it is all that we do know that pakistan government probably helped to carry out
things in mumbai and such. this is sunt of the things that we have to keep in mind. no matter how these terrorist groups are used in regional rivals, where on earth it is going? well, i think it's developing a more sectarian force. the sectarian focus of al qaeda was very, very clear in the speech. in that he very clearly referred to the persians. he said the persians, the heathon persians are becoming strong. now he's trying to piggy back on what is going on in syria, it is very much coming also sectarian directed al qaeda in iraq was a sectarian element. again linked with regional rivalries and so on and so forth. what does arab spring mean? any time that there is a
political process and when people come including minority groups. i'm not pleased that they're going time that there is a root that you can go through political means, the likelihood of that local groups will disconnect themselves from the -- kind of the headquarters, al qaeda, after all, means headquarters. so we have to wait and see. but to me, it seems to me that arab spring probably is the worst thing that could have happened to -- for al qaeda, and they are going to have to play a catch-up with that. and i agree with you, that it shows that if -- even if you want to get rid of a corrupt government, whether it is egypt, syria, iran, and whatever, there are many of them around.
so nobody has sort of monopoly corruption, unfortunately, and repression. then, you know, there are local factors for it. it's not america that does this all the time. in other words, if somebody wants to be corrupted, americans don't go and say why don't you go ahead and steal from your people, you know. this is not really what's happening. and so that you can -- you can have -- you can take action within your own country, and, of course, there is a political root to that. however, if this experience of -- if one can call events that have happened in arab spring quite peaceful doesn't work out, then i don't think that al qaeda in a sense of a kind of terrorism central -- it never really had existed as such. but nevertheless, it plays where everybody can look to -- like some kind of -- again, this is a
misnomer, but some sort of a spiritual headquarters that everybody sort of tries to get legitimacy by affiliating itself to them and bin laden. and then this thing might again develop. the other thing is that targets of terrorism change, depending where grievances tend to exist, and where the opportunities exist. so i think that this is one of the problems. for example, the russians. because i know a little bit more about caucuses in central asia than i do other places. i follow the chechen thing very much. it has not finished yet. but when the russians felt that chechnya has been pass filed and they're having problems and so on and so forth. as long as those problems are there, they're going to, you know -- i guess i have talked more than i should have.
and i apologize for that. but i hope, you know, there was something useful in it. >> thank you. very much. of course, we will have some questions very short hee. i would like to call on dr. murray to speak. she is an associate professor of strategic studies at john hopkins university. please. >> i'd like to begin by apologizing for my early departure, as well. like matt, i need to teach immediately afterward, so we're actually going to be departing together, matt. and i would also like to apologize, because i feel that i'm going to throw some rhetorical bombs here and then run out the door before everybody can sort of get back at me. but i'm not leaving because i'm avoiding the discussion, because i think this is an important discussion. i'm going to have some very strong views, though, and i
think especially the person to my left is going to disagree profoundly with me. and if i'm not able to stay here for the entire discussion, please forgive me. happy to engage some other time. so let me begin by saying that i agree with matt and others who have said that the death of bin laden is extremely important. this was after all, you know, the founder, chief inspirer, radicalizer, chief, the guy who had so much charisma that he was able to convince a whole lot of people to go out and kill themselves for a cause. so i don't want to minimize what the death of bin laden has meant. but as with others, i don't believe that it has killed off al qaeda or even that it has led to the strategic defeat of the group. nor do i think that the arab spring, as it has developed, has led to the death of al qaeda. there was a point last year when
there were a lot of hopes, including some that i had, that this might point out a different path, especially in places like egypt. but as it's developed, i don't think that it's led to the strategic defeat of al qaeda. and this is because i pro foundly disagree with an accepted settled view of what al qaeda is. in fact, my definition of the group -- mine in a very tiny group of extremists, apparently, have of the group. and that is, i don't think it's a terrorist group at all. it was in the 1990s. i agree that in the 1990s, that it was all it was able to be. it had a few hundred followers, it had these wacky dreams and fantasies about what it was going to accomplish. and it was confined to sudan and then off to the wilds of afghanistan, where it could do basically nothing, right? so in the 1990s, i agree, it was
a terrorist group. but it always had had these sort of aspirations for bigger things, and if you take a look at the capture documents that we have in our hands from our war in afghanistan in 2001, 2002, what you see is they were spending 90% of their money on training moeja huh dean, and on regular combat troops, and only 10% of their money on what they called special operations. that is, the attacks on the united states. so even back in the 1990s, they had aspirations, although unfulfilled aspirations, for bigger better things. and they were spending a lot of time and most of their effort on developing those, rather than on attacking the united states and. i would just also like to say right here at the beginning, that one of the things that has profoundly distorted this entire discussion is our views of 9/11 and how we've made this all about us. it's not about us, really.
9/11 made us think that, you know, everything -- has the name the al-qaeda attached to us, but it really wasn't. the fact that eight times as many muslims have been killed out in the world since 9/11 versus americans should tell us something about where al qaeda is focusing its attention, its main effort. so i think 9/11 distorted the discussion quite a bit. that's because i think also we've misunderstood what al qaeda's objectives are. all right? we believe that their main objective of al qaeda core is to attack the united states when, in fact, that's a means towards an end. we've confused means with objectives. which in a strategic thought and strategic planning is one of the basic mistakes you can make, and which leads to all sorts of confusion about what needs to be done, the kinds of policies you need to adopt in order to take on and defeat a group. so the means were, attack the
united states, get the u.s. out of muslim countries, entirely. bin laden had this complete fantasy that was, in fact, disputed by a lot of the members of al qaeda back in the 1990s that the u.s. was this cowardly country that you could carry out a few attacks and the u.s. would run for it. but what was he planning on doing afterwards? that was the real plan, because that leads to his real objectives which i think are four-fold and which they have expressed multiple, multiple times, not just in open statements and articles written by al qaeda analysts and things like that. but also in the few capture documents we have from iraq that are public. these things are expressed multiple, multiple times. so here's the objectives of al qaeda as expressed in these writings, statements. basically, if you go back, and i have, and read every single statement made by al qaeda's leaders, for the past ten years, these are repeated ad nauseam.
first and foremost. to overthrow all the rulers of muslim majority countries. secondly, to impose their version of sharia on all muslims in those places and around the world, if they're able to do it. thirdly, to create what they call emritz, which are basically states, but they have very specific sorts of characteristics. and eventually, to set up something they call the california afee. and beyond that, they have a fifth objective, which i don't talk about, because this real fits in the fantasy mold, which was obviously world conquest, right? so those were really the five. but the four that they focus on all the time -- they call it making the word of god the highest. and to them, that means world conquest. so that was where the fundamental objectives, sort of the grand strategic objectives of al qaeda, right from the start, things they have spoken about repeatedly over and over again. and those really have nothing to do with terrorist attacks on the unit